Come morning, many moms are faced with the challenge of brushing the teeth of a toddler. In theory, it may sound like a piece of cake but the reality, however, is very different. Many moms start their day with a lot yelling, fighting and tantrums all for the sake of oral hygiene.
Toddlers are not miniature adults. Dealing with children is not difficult; rather, it is different from the way we would interact with an adult. The way they think and view the world is quite different from the way we do. Hence, in order to get through to them, we need to re-frame our minds and change our approach.
It is necessary to communicate with toddlers in their own ‘language’. Toddlers tend to experience the world around them through their five primary senses, namely, smell, taste, sight, touch and sound. Hence, abstract concepts are more difficult for them to fully comprehend. When explaining why they need to brush their teeth, instead of talking about preventing tooth decay or oral hygiene, try to use immediate sensations.
For example, you may refer to brushing their teeth as tooth washing, saying that once they brush their teeth, their mouth will taste better and it will feel clean.
Instead of repeating the same argument over and over again every single day, you can make teeth brushing sessions more fun. One trick that you can employ which really helps a lot of new moms is to buy different coloured brushes for everyday of the week. The toddlers will love the bright colours and enjoy the fact that they have a new coloured brush every day instead of just a single one like everyone else.
A lot of parents often use the trick of nursery rhymes to ensure that their kids are brushing their teeth for a stipulated amount of time. All you have to do is download a nursery rhyme that your toddler prefers and instruct them to brush for as long as the song continues. Once they get into a habit of it, they will naturally follow this routine and you won’t have to watch over them like a hawk. You can even use a different nursery rhyme for each day of the week to make it more enjoyable for your toddler. Or choose a different one for the morning session and the night session (if you manage to find that many!).
Using toothpaste especially recommended for children also makes it quite fun. They generally have a sweeter taste than the minty ones that adults use and have fun drawings on their packaging. An additional way to make your toddler more interested in brushing is to let them choose the toothpaste they want. They will then look forward to using it the next morning. A simple trick, but quite useful!
Choosing the correct brush is also quite important. If they have tender gums using medium bristles might be too painful for them and hence, might add to the problem. Make sure you’re using the right kind of brush depending on your toddler’s gum, and you’re good to go!
Hopefully, these tips will prevent future morning battles for some moms out there!